Source: Malawi News Agency
The First Lady, Madam Gertrude Mutharika on Monday said she was committed to helping the girl child overcome obstacles in pursuit of her education.

Madam Mutharika said “the predicaments of girls make me feel more committed to work tirelessly in support of their cause.”

Madam Mutharika was speaking at a meeting on ‘Let the girl child learn initiative’ on the sidelines of 71sst Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA.

The initiative is a US government-wide initiative launched by the President and First Lady that seeks to help the more than 6.2 million girls around the world who are not in school—half of whom are adolescent—go and stay in school.

The meeting’s attendees included the US First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Rania of Jordan.

Madam Mutharika in her speech said as the child grows older, the harder it becomes for her to get educated.

“”She may be forced to marry, overburdened by household work and taking motherhood roles before her time,” she said.

Madam Mutharika said that was why she was committed to supporting girls’ education through the Beautify Malawi Trust which she established that advocates for a cleaner, greener and healthier Malawi and girl child education.

“The Trust is championing the ‘bring a girl back to school’ campaign. An educated girl will be able to take care of the environment and make informed choices in life,” she said.

Madam Mutharika said needy girls who dropped out of school were being sponsored and those who got married before the age of 18 whose marriages had been nullified were being readmitted to school.

She, however, said access and equity to girls’ education was still hampered by many factors such as harmful attitudes and practices that were discriminatory towards girls and the impact of HIV and Aids.

“In recognition of these challenges, the government of Malawi launched the National Education Girls Strategy in May 2014,” she said.

Madam Mutharika said the strategy aimed at advancing girls’ education and tackling barriers that girls face in terms of their participation and access to education.

She said the ‘let the girl child learn initiative gave her hope that the girl child had a bright future and would be empowered to take on decision-making positions.

“Adolescent girls are the most vulnerable unless they are empowered to realize their potential which is hindered by poverty, early marriages, early pregnancies and harmful cultural practices,” she said.

In her speech, Mrs Obama gave an account of her how she grew up. She said her parents did not have a college education, yet they managed to give her the best education she could get up to university.

Mrs Obama called on First Ladies to use their power to help girls worldwide to fulfill their aspirtaions.

During the function, three girls from Malawi, Jordan and Pakistan narrated the difficulties they experienced in pursuing their education.

When Malawi’s Halima Robert, 17, told her story of how she abandoned her marriage to return to school, she received a standing ovation.

By  Gospel Mwalwanda

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